No matter where you stand on the current war, somebody in your life has doubtlessly made sacrifices over the years to protect you, your loved ones, and this ever-changing country of ours. Maybe Grandma was a nurse in Vietnam, or Great Grandma helped build planes during World War II. Perhaps Grandad fought in Korea, or Papa was at Normandy.
Ander and Zaza's Grandad 'drove ships' for the Navy for 25 years. Both their Poppy and his brother Great Uncle Sam were in World War II (though the War ended before Poppy's ship ever left the U.S.!).
Their beloved Uncle A is an active-duty Naval officer who has been 'over there' over and over and over since 2001. They worry a lot. They want him to be safe. And he wants to keep us all safe.
We try to never stop being grateful.
So why not send a thank you note to a Veteran today?
We started off by reading some favorite stories about courage and chivalry, which led to a conversation about freedom, service, manners, and finally to a list of things for which we are grateful.
This deceptively simple project is also an excellent jumping-off point to discuss complicated topics including the American Revolution, the history of the Peace Movement, your own family's involvement in wars through the generations, the history and evolution of the U.S. military, etc.
You will need:
- Paper: card stock, construction paper, origami squares, copier paper -- whatever takes their fancy. (I steered Ander and Zaza away from 'camo' patterns because, seriously, our military folks see enough of that.)
- Markers, crayons, colored pencils
- 5 minutes to an hour
Keep it simple and politically neutral: happy images and an enormous "THANK YOU!!!"
Ander (7.5 years) is a peace activist, but he doesn't want to hurt anyone's feelings. He remembered the family story of his Grandad being spat on whilst attending college in his Navy uniform during Vietnam. He thought about drawing a bunch of children holding hands to form a peace sign, then worried about how that might be interpreted, switched gears, started an illustrated list of 'Good' and 'Bad' things about the necessity of having armed forces, found himself in another (rather weepy) moral quagmire, and finally opted to draw a special edition of his daily comic strip ("the Circus of Rock").
Zaza (4.5 years) threw herself enthusiastically into card-making: folding card stock in half! choosing favorite markers! Then she asked me to write out what she wanted to say ("Thank you for keeping us safe!") and copied out her message on the front of her card.
If you have a local friend or family member in mind, you can leave your note/drawing/card in their mail slot.
If your vets are farther-flung, scan your cards and e-mail them, or just pop them in the snail-mail for a delayed (but no less heartfelt) gratitude-a-palooza.
Or check out the Armed Forces News Service website for all sorts of options regarding e-mailing servicemen and women who you have never met, but who would be so touched to hear from you.